Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky


Aug 25 (Fri.) - Sep 16 (Sat.), 2023

Maho Kubota Gallery is pleased to present “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky”, a solo exhibition by Aki Inomata. This exhibition has an irregular schedule, running from Friday, August 25 to Saturday, September 16, 2023.

With Aki Inomata’s “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky” series, the previous day’s cloud patterns are sculpted within a glass filled with water. The artist has been working on this project since 2020, and eventually achieved the results she was looking for by developing a technique for 3D printing a white liquid into a drinkable liquid in the glass.

The inspiration for this project came while Inomata was spending time gazing through her window during the COVID-19 pandemic, when restrictions on activity had become a part of everyday life. Before experiencing the pandemic, for many people, tomorrow had been an extension of today, and today had been continuously connected with yesterday. However, when the life that we had taken for granted underwent a transformation, becoming something you might imagine would happen on another planet, the artist became keenly aware that today would never be the same as yesterday.

This exhibition presents works that allow visitors to view cloud patterns from the previous day floating within glasses on a table, as well as photos and videos showing other glasses in this series. The show engenders an acute awareness of the “now” that occurs at each individual moment within the continual passage of time.

<Text for the “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky” by Hiroki Yamamoto (Cultural Studies Scholar) >
Aki Inomata’s art project, “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky”, is the result of extensive planning and trial and error that took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project emerged in response to the evident transformations in the global environment caused by the pandemic, leading Inomata to realize that ‘today will never be the same as yesterday’. During the isolating lifestyle imposed by the pandemic, Inomata observed the sky from her room’s window and discovered that the everyday appearance of the sky, despite its seeming similarity, never displayed the exact same aspect twice. Known for creating art through collaborations with other species, “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky” seems to be a completely novel creation that reflects a new direction for Inomata while maintaining continuity with her previous interests.

In the artwork, the shapes of clouds that appeared in yesterday’s sky are manifested within water poured into a glass. Inomata’s delicate ‘clouds’ gradually mix with the liquid and disappear over time. However, the viewers have the opportunity to actually drink this water. This aspect of allowing viewers to ingest a part of the artwork recalls other pieces like Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ ‘Untitled’ (Placebo) (1991), where an installation of candies, weighing the combined weight of his own body and the artist’s partner who passed away due to AIDS, serves as a collective and shared mourning through the act of consumption. In a similar vein, Inomata’s “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky” functions as a device to share the ephemeral nature of passing days during the pandemic and the preciousness of each day.

Through the unpredictable collaboration with non-human beings, Inomata challenges the human-centric worldview that has dominated the modern world. In the “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky” project, centered around the act of ‘eating’, she presents a radical challenge to the visual-centric worldview that has also ruled over the modern world, particularly in the realm of contemporary art. The outcome of this project, which allows viewers not only to enjoy visually but also to taste, boldly dethrones the visual’s long-held throne in the realm of art. Simultaneously, it reconstructs the perspective that revolves around human vision and encourages ecological considerations of the world, where humans are merely a part of it. In this sense, the project deeply resonates with Inomata’s previous artistic interests. Furthermore, it is possible to find connections with her earliest works that dealt with non-biological natural phenomena.

In the idealized neoliberal world that assumes independent individuals who demonstrate creativity and survive in a chaotic society, we are constantly encouraged to focus on the ‘future’. While it is true that artists and designers have been positively cited within the excessive praise of such entrepreneurship, art was not originally meant to rush us forward but rather to provide a pause, allowing us to carefully contemplate things. Aki Inomata’s “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky”, initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, encourages us to pay attention not only to the distant ‘future’ but also to the ‘here and now’ in the seemingly repetitive aspects of everyday life. Indeed, the significance of “Thinking of Yesterday’s Sky” lies precisely in its focus on the ‘here and now.

Opening reception
Aug 25 (Fri.) 6pm – 8pm

Exhibition dates
*The gallery opening dates during the exhibition period are set irregularly.
– Aug 25, 26 2pm – 7pm
– Aug 29 – Sep 2 2pm – 7pm
– Sep 12 – Sep 16 2pm – 7pm